Teachers in the Nova Scotia Province in Canada are to go on strike tomorrow in defiance of the government's attempt to impose a four year contract on them. The Liberal Government has passed a number of anti-union measures, including restricting the right to strike of health workers and imposing a cap on pay increases for teachers, making meaningful arbitration impossible.
Although the Nova Scotia Teachers Union had reached a tentative deal with the government after an eighteen month contract dispute, members voted by a 78.5% majority to reject it. The teachers are not only concerned about their pay, they want more money put into education to lessen class sizes, support inclusion for children with special needs and provide the resources needed for a decent education. As the Nova Scotia government is hellbent on pursuing its austerity agenda and has made clear its hatred of unions, the defiance of teachers is particularly important for the entire labour movement in the province.
In the words of an article written by a spokesperson for the group Nova Scotia Parents for Teachers, 'Our teachers, after doing one of the most difficult and complex jobs around, are standing up for themselves, their students and all of us.'